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“Defense wins championships!” So declared a triumphant Michael Jordan in 1991, invoking a hallowed sports mantra. But Jordan’s assertion melts into cliché when Moskowitz and Wertheim expose it to statistical calculations revealing that, regardless of the sport, offense proves just as decisive as defense. Indeed, in their wide-ranging iconoclasm, the authors repeatedly poke arithmetic holes in what everyone in sports supposedly knows. Typical is their number-crunching assault on the popular explanation of home-field advantage as a consequence of visiting teams’ road fatigue. Home teams win, the authors demonstrate, chiefly because referees tend to see plays their way—especially when the crowd of spectators grows large. Parsing of data illuminates off-field behavior, too, explaining which athletes use steroids and which ones use marijuana. Even the curse hanging over the Chicago Cubs comes into focus then the analysts ignore the billy-goat myth and statistically assess a management style fostered by fans perversely loyal to “lovable losers”! Sports buffs eager to win their next barroom argument will be lining up for this book. --Bryce Christensen
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ISBN-10:  0307591794
ISBN-13:  978-0307591791
Author:  Tobias J. Moskowitz
Genre:  Business & Investing, Health, Mind & Body, Sports
Publisher:  Crown Archetype
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review by . March 01, 2011
I've always been a fan of ideas that are contrary to popular belief. There are so many things that we assume are true and the way we perceive things are not necessarily how they actually are. Accumulating data is what helps us understand these things and the authors did an outstanding job of doing this.      The reader will continue to wonder how the data will connect with the assertion made by the authors but in the proceeding pages, things are explained masterfully through …
review by . February 13, 2011
All of the major professional sports have been played for well over a century. This has led to a long and hallowed tradition of how things are done. Unfortunately, in many cases the traditional way of doing things is not the statistically most effective. The primary topic is an analysis of how the home field advantage is acquired. Contrary to popular belief, crowd noise does not rattle a player shooting a foul shot as the players are generally so focused that the background noise is unheard. As …
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